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Panama Advance Notification – The Reality

By Sue Richards last modified Mar 05, 2010 01:41 PM

Published: 2010-03-05 13:41:55
Countries: Panama

As of February 25, 2010, there is no indication the Colon/Cristobal authorities are aware of or using the Advance Notification mandate.

I visited all four offices required to do a clearance, offered a printed copy of my AN email, and only got blank stares. (Exact same result as when CARICOM island nations instituted an AN requirement and no local Trinidad official knew about it).

Moreover, I have yet to meet another yacht whose crew sent an AN to Panama, nor have the local agents and taxi drivers who help new arrivals seem to know about this.

Easy for bureaucrats to comply with an international agreement; implementation is an entirely different matter.

Jack Tyler

Karsten Staffeldt (Scandinavian Ocean Cruising Associations: FTLT/DOCA, OCCD - Denmark and OSK - Sweden) confirms Jack Tyler’s report.

I have been checking around with arriving yachts and also with my sources within the various Authorities and conclude:

1) Only a few of the yachts arriving in Panama have e-mailed Advance Notification.

2) With a new Government taking over last year and many changes of staff within Government Offices, the general status can only be described as somewhat "confused".

3) No yachts have encountered problems when they have not sent Advance Notification, and none have been asked if they did!!!

4) The regulation is still on the books, and I feel it is just a question of time before the officials from the Port Captains’ Offices start finding out that notification is required.

I can only recommend that yachts send the Advance Notification if possible, especially as it is relatively easy via e-mail via the Maritime Authorities home-page (see Clearance Panama), and then it is done if and when the question comes up sometime in the future.

5) Finally when this new requirement was established it was recognized by the Authorities that yachts might have difficulties complying due to their generally limited communication facilities.

Unfortunately this kind of "confusion" is not unusual in this part of the world!!

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